Rider University 9, George Mason University 6
FAIRFAX, VA-The Broncs scored seven runs in the final three innings for a come-from-behind win at George Mason Wednesday afternoon. "We have great respect for George Mason," said Rider head coach Barry Davis. "We played the full nine (innings). We kept playing and gave ourselves a chance."
Junior Brandon Cotten (Wiconisco, Pa./Williams Valley) hit a two-run home run with two outs in the ninth inning to give Rider (21-12) a 9-6 lead. It was Cotten's third hit of the game. "We had taken the lead but when we got Cotten's hit it gave us some wiggle room," Davis said. "If not for Cotten's home run Mason gets the tying run on base in the ninth."
Rider took a 7-6 lead in the ninth inning, its first lead since 1-0 in the first, when sophomore Adam Wayman (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./G.A.R. Memorial) singled and scored on a single by senior Karl Johnston (Hamilton, N.J./Peddie). Johnston, who came in off the bench in the seventh inning, scored on Cotten's home run. "Karl did a good job," Davis said. "He got a big hit."
Wayman had two hits on the day.
Senior Mason Heyne's (Shrewsbury, Pa./Susquehannock) two-run single in the eighth inning tied the score at 6-6. "That was the biggest hit of the game," Davis said.
It was Heyne's second hit of the game.
Cotten's RBI double cut the lead to 6-4 in the eighth inning. "A couple of guys came up big with clutch hits, with two outs,"' Davis said. "That's how you win close ball games."
Senior A.J. Albee (Ashley, Pa./Hanover Area) singled and scored on a two-out triple by senior Steve Galella (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./G.A.R. Memorial) to cut the lead to 6-3 in the seventh inning. Galella had two RBI in the game, giving him 119 for his career, 15th most ever at Rider.
Mason (15-23-1) scored an unearned run in the fifth inning to take a 6-2 lead.
Heyne tripled and scored on a single by Wayman to cut the lead to 5-2 in the third inning.
Mason took a 2-1 lead in the first inning on three hits, including a pair of doubles. A walk, a hit batsman, a double and a triple, all with two out, gave Mason a 5-1 lead in the second inning.
Mason used seven different pitchers in the non-conference game.
The Broncs took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when freshman Nick Crescenzo (Hammonton, NJ/Hammonton) singled, advanced to third on a pair of walks and scored on a sacrifice fly by Galella.
Rider's leading hitter (.351), Crescenzo had four of Rider's 14 hits. "He put the ball in play," Davis said. "When he makes contact and puts the ball on the ground he's going to get on base because he runs so well."
Rider sophomore closer Tyler Smith (Westmont/Haddon Twp.) pitched the final two scoreless innings, striking out three for the win.
Rider sophomore Chris Taylor (Sterling, VA/Dominion) pitched three hitless, scoreless innings of relief, striking out three.
Senior Jeff Giordano (Massapequa Park, N.Y./Massapequa) pitched two scoreless innings of relief, striking out four.
"Smith, Giordano and Taylor gave up just one run and it was unearned," Davis said. "They were very good today."
Rider now holds a 4-2 advantage in the series with Mason that began in 1985.
"Hopefully we can build on this," Davis said, "and take it into the weekend."
Rider returns home to host Fairfield in a MAAC doubleheader Saturday and a single MAAC game Monday.